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ISACS Member - Circus Gerbola
ISACS Member - Circus Gerbola

ISACS is the national voice for the Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle sector with a vital role in developing recognition and respect of these emerging art forms in Ireland. An important part of the work of ISACS is to stay informed, and to inform current policy, academic research and strategic developments, both nationally and internationally.

Please see below a selection of current policy, strategy and research documents of interest to the Arts in Ireland today.


National Policy

Arts Act 2003

“arts” means any creative or interpretative expression (whether traditional or contemporary) in whatever form, and includes, in particular, visual arts, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera, film, circus and architecture, and includes any medium when used for those purposes;


Creative Ireland Programme


Creative Ireland is the Government’s Legacy Programme for Ireland 2016 – a five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy.


Culture Ireland


Culture Ireland promotes Irish arts worldwide. They create and support opportunities for Irish artists and companies to present and promote their work at strategic international festivals and venues. They develop platforms to present outstanding Irish work to international audiences, through showcases at key global arts events.


Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Publication of Culture 2025

The document sets out an overarching vision and framework for the future and outlines the priorities for action over the coming years. Through this Framework Policy, the Government seeks to nurture creativity, boost citizen participation, help more people to follow a sustainable career in the cultural sector, promote Ireland’s cultural wealth and ensure a cultural contribution to wider social and economic goals. ISACS made a collective submission on behalf of our sector.
Arts Council of Ireland


In September 2015 Arts Council Ireland published their new ten-year strategy, Making Great Art Work, in which they set out how they will lead the development of the arts in Ireland over the next decade. Their strategy has five priority areas:

  • The Artist;
  • Public Engagement;
  • Investment Strategy;
  • Spatial and Demographic Planning;
  • Developing Capacity.

Download Making Great Art Work (PDF, 3.29MB)


Making Great Art Work will be implemented through three three-year plans starting in 2017.

Three-Year Plan 2017–2019

This plan describes the investment strategies, projects and programmes they will prioritise during 2017–2019 and sets out the achievements and milestones they have set themselves over this period.

Download Making Great Art Work: Three-Year Plan 2017–2019 (PDF, .5MB)


Arts Council Of Northern Ireland


Arts Council of Northern Ireland support Circus Arts and Carnival Arts across Northern Ireland.

Download Arts-Council-of-Northern-Ireland_Arts-Policies-ART-FORM-AND-SPECIALIST-Circus-Arts-2007-2012 (PDF)

Download Arts-Council-of-Northern-Ireland_Arts-Policies-ART-FORM-AND-SPECIALIST-Carnival_Arts_2013-2018.pdf


Research Papers

The Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht presented a report Utilising the Arts to Combat Social Disadvantage.  Published on 9 July 2014, this Report examines the feasibility of utilising the arts as an instrument of promoting social inclusion. It makes 19 recommendations (pages 7-10) to the Department with a key one being that the Department carry out a comprehensive study on the impact of arts funding in combatting disadvantage and promoting social inclusion in advance of implementing any policy changes.Download a copy and assess this Report’s recommendations.

Previous to this there was a report entitled In the Frame or out of the Picture which outlines the importance of making cultural citizenship for all a reality. This document highlights the fact that Circus is the only art form which transcends barriers relating to socio economic background, educational attainment and income. There are many other research documents available to read via the Economic and Social Research Institute and the National Economic and Social Council around these and other issues.

  • Dance Meets Circus

On the 27th of January 2017, ISACS were delighted to present 'Where Dance Meets Circus', curated by ISACS CEO Lucy Medlycott, at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, a focus session exploring the boundaries between dance and circus in partnership with the European Network for Circus and Street Arts Circostrada Network and MA in Festive Arts director Dr. Niamh Nic Ghabhann at Irish World Academy of Music and DanceUniversity of Limerick. This event was an opportunity to gather choreographers, performers, programmers, researchers, and policymakers, among others, to explore where one art form crosses into another, the different paths that have been taken by Dance and Circus artform, and how these routes impact the work, the artist, and the outcomes.



Local Authorities

Regional Arts Offices

A vital part of our work is working in conjunction with the Local Authority Arts Officer. Every County Council around the country has their own Arts Officer and each Arts Office creates its own Local Arts Plan.

Each Local Authority has established Public Participation Networks. These networks are an opportunity to have your voice heard around decisions regarding our local communities and development plans. You can find out more information about the PPNs here. The PPN will feed into the Local Community Development Committees (LCDC's) which are charged with writing a new Local Economic Community Plan for each county. Please contact the Department of Community within your own Local Authority to find out how you can get involved.

Dublin City Council Street Performers Bye-Laws 2016

Dublin City Council has recently endorsed a new set of Bye Laws entitled: 'Street Performers Bye Laws'. ISACS held a very interesting conversation around this at the National Circus Festival of Ireland and prepared a submission in relation to this document.

Galway City Council Street Performers Bye-Laws 2011

Galway also sought submissions around a draft document entitled 'A Review of Busking/Street Performance in Galway City'. ISACS made a submission and we await further news.


Corporate Governance Procedures

Corporate Governance and Best Practice procedures

The Arts Council hosted a compliance and governance conference in Smock Alley Theatre on 29 June 2015, which was attended by over 200 delegates. This conference was designed to inform organisations of compliance and statutory reporting obligations which are affected by three new developments:

  • The establishment of the new Charities Regulatory Authority
  • The introduction of the new Companies Act
  • The introduction of a new financial reporting standard (FRS102) from 2015

Download the full report for board members here.

Please read the Arts Council's Practical Guide for Board Members-June15 here.

Boardmatch Ireland host training programmes around same, for more details please go here.

Outside Ireland


The Audience Agency


The Audience Agency UK joined ISACS at the Circostrada Summer University this Summer and gave a detailed presentation on gathering audience data for Outdoor arts. You may view their most recent report into audience data here.



Circostrada Network 

Research into circus and street arts, and outdoor artistic creation in general, is still underdeveloped in Europe and worldwide. Circostrada supports and promotes research by regularly carrying out and publishing thematic studies and guides that shed light on innovative practices and identify the emerging trends impacting and challenging our sectors.

Irish Street Arts Circus and Spectacle Network

Irish Theatre Institute, 17 Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
00 353 (0)87 0541812